Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Docs

You can tell that Cam23 apathy is starting to set because I am no longer able to think up silly titles to do with the Things we are supposed to be exploring. That being said, Thing 20 was easy-peasy-lemon-sqeezy 🙂 I have had a little bit of experience using Google Docs before, mainly for organising training timetables and sharing training plans for coming weeks, and also as a useful place to back stuff up, but I’d never tried the process of creating the document and sharing it.

I decided to create a little drawing and share it with a couple of colleagues – the drawing document type is very similar to ‘paint’ in that you can paste in a [cc licsensed] photo and draw silly things on it. This done, it was a simple (or so I thought) process to add their addresses to the ‘share with’ box and all’s done an dusted. In reality, if you have more than one email address for the intended target you need to make sure it’s the one they use to log in to their Google account with, otherwise they can’t get to it. You do have the option of sending them a link in an email that wil allow them access, but I haven’t always found this reliable and it works on the assumption that they’ll always be able to follow that link. Girl in the Moon, in the spirit of exploring things thoroughly, took the opportunity to edit the drawing, and that worked fine.

All in all, Google Docs is an excellent and simple way to work collaboratively on projects and library documents. I’m not so sure that it lends itself to sharing information with users, as I think there are more elegant and suitable ways to do this, but for staff document sharing it’s great – especially as it makes location no object at all and can be used from anywhere. Usual proviso of everyone needing an account for it to work well, and Google taking over the world blah, blah blah…

I know what you’re doing next Wednesday…

Right, so much for Thing 5. The next Thing was even easier, mainly beacuse I’d already got an iCalendar and I’d already added it to my iGoogle page (swot!). It looks a bit like this:

What an interesting life I lead...The benefits of this little piece of technology could be considerable, if well applied. It’s chief triumph lies in the fact that one calendar can be shared between several colleagues, or even embedded in a website and made public. The first allows you to have a shared calendar between your library staff – something that is particularly useful for a relatively large/busy department – and means that you can see at a glance who is expected where and when, and what events are happening that day/week/month etc. No excuses for not knowing that the Librarian is out all day, or that vacation loans start on Wednesday! The second facet means that you can post a ‘Library Calendar’ on your library’s web page, detailing changes in loan periods, forthcoming events and even room bookings if required.

So, what’s the catch? The only downside that I can really see is that, to be able to add to or edit the calendar, the person or persons you have shared it with must also have a Google account. This more problematic for the shared office calendar than the public one, obviously, but is definitely worth thinking about before embarking on this particuar mission. Some people are simply happier with paper versions, and for the Google one to work it really needs to be the *main calendar* that is used, otherwise you end up with yet another calendar to check along with the 2 or 3 others that may already be in operation. Having said that, if you can convince everyone to partake then it’s well worth doing.

As far as personal use goes, I actually find it easier to use my brain rather than a computer as a substitute-brain. Maybe it’s just that I’m blessed with the kind of memory that’s good at this sort of thing, but I rarely forget where I’m supposed to be at any particular time. It’s shocking, I know, but I get really wound up with the laziness that computing engenders. I was reading a blog this morning where the author dismissed one of the sites they’d investigated for feed-reading because it *didn’t remember what they’d read for them*. I realise that this is slightly out-of-context, and can see that it if you follow more blogs and websites than you can remember then it would be useful to see what you’ve already looked at – but it does bring me back to information overload, and whether it really is *useful* to have this much at our fingertips.